Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version

April 2007


Published in JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY, Apr. 2007, p. 3077–3086 Vol. 81, No. 7. Copyright © 2007, American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


The ICP0 protein (bICP0) encoded by bovine herpesvirus 1 is the major viral regulatory protein because it stimulates all viral promoters and, consequently, productive infection. Like other ICP0 analogues encoded by Alphaherpesvirinae subfamily members, bICP0 contains a zinc RING finger near its amino terminus that is necessary for activating transcription, regulating subcellular localization, and inhibiting interferon-dependent transcription. In this study, we discovered that sequences near the C terminus, and the zinc RING finger, are necessary for inhibiting the human beta interferon (IFN- β) promoter. In contrast to herpes simplex virus type 1-encoded ICP0, bICP0 reduces interferon response factor 3 (IRF3), but not IRF7, protein levels in transiently transfected cells. The zinc RING finger and sequences near the C terminus are necessary for bICP0-induced degradation of IRF3. A proteasome inhibitor, lactacystin, interfered with bICP0-induced degradation of IRF3, suggesting that bICP0, directly or indirectly, targets IRF3 for proteasome-dependent degradation. IRF3, but not IRF7, is not readily detectable in the nuclei of productively infected bovine cells during the late stages of infection. In the context of productive infection, IRF3 and IRF7 are detected in the nucleus at early times after infection. At late times after infection, IRF7, but not IRF3, is still detectable in the nuclei of infected cells. Collectively, these studies suggest that the ability of bICP0 to reduce IRF3 protein levels is important with respect to disarming the IFN response during productive infection.